This week at the movies: a deranged romantic comedy; a deranged kid’s animated movie; and a remake of a war movie that wishes it was deranged!
Silver Linings Playbook
A romcom for people who don’t like romcoms, Silver Linings Playbook stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as two mentally unstable adults searching for a love connection. Cooper’s character lost his wife, his job, and in the process, his mind. To get back on his feet, he’s staying at home with his parents (played by Robert Deniro and Jackie Weaver) when he meets the neighborhood lass with an equally troubled past. Somehow, they connect.
Perfect for: Fans of edgier romantic comedies; don’t expect Pretty Woman.
What the Critics Say: It’s getting a lot of positive buzz; might be a sleeper hit. High praise for the two leads, and the offbeat nature of the script. Writes the AP: “From mental illness and adultery to football obsession and competitive dance, ‘‘Silver Linings Playbook’’ follows a wily and winding path that consistently defies expectations.” And, says Rolling Stone: “As played with go-for-broke intensity, humor and raw feeling by Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, they're deranged romantics you can't help rooting for.”
Our Take: You had us at hello.
A remake of a bad movie, the new version of Red Dawn doesn’t look any more promising than the first. The plot: the U.S. has been invaded by outside forces, and patriots, played by Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck, form an unlikely teenage guerrilla group trying to take back the country. The original had a far better cast—Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson—and better straw men boogiemen (the Soviets, leftover villains from the Cold War). This time? North Korea stands in the as the evildoers. Meh.
Perfect For: People with lobotomies? Okay, war adventure film buffs. Or something.
What the Critics Say: Normally a film like this is so bad it doesn’t get shown to the critics. However, they’ve all seen it and have universally panned it. Writes Entertainment Weekly: “The cast looks pretty while playing with guns — but nothing more…. Take that, screaming North Koreans with no agenda!” The Philadelphia Inquirer: “Hobbled by a laughably bad script and a uniformly uncharismatic cast.” A three percent Rotten Tomato score can’t be wrong, folks.
Our Take: Just don’t.
Rise of the Guardians
In Rise of the Guardians Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost have been recast as supernatural superheroes possessing extraordinary crime fighting powers. The set up looks like an animated version of 300, with epic battles and mystical backstories. The twist is that it’s for kids, featuring familiar characters. It’s got co-executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) fingerprints all over it.
Perfect For: This is a kid’s movie for adults. Bring the tykes and enjoy it more than they will.
What the Critics Say: Some think it’s too heavy for kid’s fare; others appreciate the maturity. Roger Ebert: “Peter Ramsey and his art team have created a crisp, colorful fantasy world, sharper-edged than many feature-length children's cartoons.” Variety: “Even tots may emerge feeling slightly browbeaten by this colorful, strenuous and hyperactive fantasy, which has moments of charm and beauty but often resembles an exploding toy factory rather than a work of honest enchantment.”
Our Take: If the kids are bored, you won’t be.